In a major setback to the Congress in Patiala city, sitting Congress municipal councillor Ravinderpal Singh Johni Kohli from ward number 32, under which residence of former chief minister captain Amarinder Singh and Preneet Kaur falls, joined the Shiromani Akali Dal in the presence of SAD president and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh at Sunam rally in Sangrur district on Friday.
Even the residence of Patiala Congress MLA Brahm Mohindra falls under his ward’s jurisdiction. He joined SAD at the instance of Harpal Juneja, general secretary of the Youth Akali Dal (YAD).
Kohli had won civic body elections from his ward with handsome margin in 2012 against Narinder Singh Chandok. Kohli has good reputation in his ward as he managed to secure victory despite having anti-incumbency wave against the Congress during the elections.
Kohli may dent Preneet’s election campaign in the city and become a de-motivating factor for Congress workers and other councillors.
Deepinder Singh Dhillon, SAD candidate from Patiala, said not only Congress leaders, their workers have shown frustration against Preneet due to her dismal performance.
“Many more Congress councillors and senior leaders are ready and approached us to join SAD. The Congress is left with only hollow assurances and nothing else.
Meanwhile, after joining the SAD, Kohli said poor policies of the Congress had made him join SAD.
“I have been facing suffocation in the party. Despite being member parliament for the past 15 years, incumbent MP Preneet Kaur has failed to bring any major grant for the development of different wards, “he said.
On other hand, Sanjeev Sharma Bittu, leader of opposition in the MC said Kohli was was groomed by local Congress workers in his ward. He said Kohli and his father had contested unsuccessfully from their wards. It was only after the Congress support that he was elected councillor for the first time. “It is an opportunism. His joining will not affect the campaign as Congress workers would give him answers during the elections”, he said.